Exuberant ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ provides nonstop entertainment

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Flying along at breakneck speed, the exuberant Group Rep production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream provides hilarious entertainment for the whole family. Combining slapstick, madcap humor with excellent acting, the show delightfully brings Shakespeare’s words alive.

Under the light of a romantic moon, Midsummer weaves together magical adventures of two pairs of Athenian lovers and six amateur actors controlled and manipulated by a warring Fairy King and Queen, before all’s well that ends well.

Director/actor Marc Singer brings zany, physical humor and nonstop pacing to the proceedings, with actors dancing in and around scenes and each other, while overlapping dialogue keeps up the tempo. His cast plays broadly, almost winking at the audience, as they draw us conspiratorially into the action.

Singer draws fine, spirited performances from his large crew. He gives the character of Oberon a hearty, wry mischievousness while J. Christopher Sloan hams it up as the conceited, overconfident Bottom, with a great Bullwinkle-like voice. Lloyd Pedersen nicely underplays Peter Quince and Bennett Saltzman adds jaunty joie de vivre to Puck. Anna Gion exudes charm as Helena and Mikel Parraga-Wills brings rubbery physicality to Lysander. The befuddled acting troupe hits their notes just right.

Production work is also first rate, from Singer’s stylish, bare bones design to Tor Brown’s excellent lighting. The simple forest set adds a romantic touch, enhanced by the moody lighting. Steve Shaw adds playful touches as well with his sound work.

The Group Rep’s rollicking production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream offers amusing, lighthearted entertainment this holiday season.

The Group Rep presents “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm through Sunday, December 31 at the Lonny Chapman Theatre at 10900 Burbank Blvd. in North Hollywood. A special Thanksgiving Friday matinee is November 24 at 2pm and a talk-back performance on Sunday, December 3. Tickets are $25, $20 for students and seniors, with a $15 rate for groups of 10 or more. To purchase tickets visit TheGroupRep.com or email info@thegrouprep.com. For reservations call (818) 763-5990.

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